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Steve Moore, B.A., J.D. Author Steve has been in the music business for over 30 years! He's worked as a professional musician, producer, and has been involved in almost every aspect of the music business. He's also the author of "The Truth about the Music Business"

Shipping Music Gear Via UPS

UPS is set up so that YOU LOSE!

Be careful of what you ship!

UPS – I have another name for the ACRONYM for them…
And will let you use your imagination!

So let me tell you an anecdote of the type of customer service you can expect!

I had to Speak at the First EVER International Symposium at the Ritz Carlton in Naples FL – of course, this being our first event – we did our homework on everything we could have possibly done.  But there’s always some variable one cannot predict.

We decided to bring TWO HI-END Hi-Def Cameras to shoot the video and decided to ship a small PA as the room was rather large with over 80 or so people in attendance.  So we figured in order to have MORE CONTROL over the audio I took my Yamaha Board, Microphones, Three (3) 12″ monitors (two stage front and one for the BACK so that I could keep tabs on the audio feeds. 

So I go to a UPS “Franchisee” here near my studio – Justin is the owner.  He did a pretty good job helping me out – in fact, he was super nice and we tried many ways to figure out the BEST and cheapest way to ship my gear!  I even had my Yamaha 20 Channel Board INSIDE of an ANVIL CASE!  How can you damage one of those?  Well despite all efforts to pack the equipment safely – they *(the UPS TRUCKS) damaged it alright as it was BENT on all four corners – and the BOX that it was shipped in was pretty much bent and/or beat up no matter which way you looked at it! Needless to say I was just a little upset – but I figured I had paid the MAX insurance available and hence I should NOT have a problem getting my Anvil  Case replaced.  WRONG!

Upon arriving at the Ritz – when we got our boxes for the MAIN room – some pretty serious issues were caused by us adding more rooms and people toward the last-minute,  hence we were told that I/WE would have to move ALL of that equipment from ROOM to ROOM including way across the property to a beach house and back every day for the FOUR DAYS that we’d be using the gear!  That was just unacceptable and after much wrangling we were able to fix it so that we would NOT have to get up at 4:00 a.m. every day, move the equipment, set up again, and at end of day tear down and move again – and since we had functions each night – that meant we had to set back up at 4:00 a.m. again – but that all worked itself out – but needless to say I was KIND of BUSY the whole time I was there – not much time to be dealing with UPS about my bent Anvil Mixer Case.

So once the gig was over – I packed everything up – and took it back over to Fort Lauderdale where the packages were received to ship all of it back to my studio So we head over to yet another UPS Franchisee in TAMARAC FL.  Upon arriving in the store – (and yes, we were DOG TIRED!) we were greeted by a relatively nice girl – but she then advised me that my original package – (packed EXACTLY as it was when it was shipped) was over 150 LBS?   How my equipment gained weight during the show – is impossible to explain – so one could only guess that their scales were NOT calibrated.  So I was told that they would have to break this one package (1 out of a few others) into TWO SEPARATE packages with one to be shipped freight and one to be shipped UPS ground.

I advised this young lady that my Anvil Case had been damaged on the way down to which she replied “That’s the PROBLEM of UPS STORE where you shipped it from.  OK – well at least I should be able to FILE A CLAIM for just $450 – which was the cost to replace the ANVIL CASE.   And since WE PAID for $1500.00 (the max allowed) then that should NOT be a problem.   I did let her know that UPS (not necessarily affiliated with UPS STORE FRANCHISEES – HUH? But that’s a whole separate issue!) should send somebody by to inspect my CASE so that they could SEE the damage to the BOX as well as to the CASE – well not only did THAT NOT HAPPEN – but ALL of my boxes just sat in the middle of THAT UPS STORE’S FLOOR – no telling what could have been stolen or whatever while it just SAT THERE for 10 days!

We finally tracked down where my stuff was so this OTHER UPS STORE had re-packed my box with my Mixer and Anvil Case and shipped it out.  You should have SEEN the condition of the BOX upon arrival – it was in WORSE shape than the first time I shipped it and the my Anvil Case was bent WAY more the second time around – or at least was certainly beat up yet again.  (And to be Fair – our video person – also had FED EX lose his main controllers that were coming in from California – and HIS equipment was ALSO damaged upon arrival!)   So one can only imagine what these package handlers do when they are MOVING YOUR STUFF!  It’s pretty obvious that FRAGILE (Please handle with CARE) does NOT mean much to these guys!

So I contacted the FIRST UPS STORE and they assured me that they would take care of it.  And this was on or around the end of September.  Needless to say I had a LOT of things on my mind and a TON of catch up work to do – so I let it slide for a while.  Then called to check back and they were telling me that I’d have to FILE A CLAIM with the TAMARAC store!  Which didn’t matter as we paid for insurance both ways – and YET the package was DAMAGED both ways.  And they did not SKIP a beat when they TOOK MY MONEY when I paid them for the insurance but when it came time to FILE A CLAIM – I was stone walled at EVERY TURN.  After 3 months of trying to find out what to do – as BOTH UPS STORES were NOT helping – I decided to file a claim and COMPLAINT with UPS the company!

So UPS says that I have to ship the Anvil Case to UPS for inspection – and the package was picked up on 1/9/2012 by UPS and I made sure that their driver SIGNED FOR IT – (and the driver is an old friend so I don’t want to get his name involved – he was just DOING HIS JOB!)

A couple of months go by and NOT a word from ANYONE – now that’s almost 6 whole months that I’ve been denied the use of my Anvil Case and NOBODY is doing ANYTHING about it!   So  I call UPS only to get somebody on the phone stating that my CLAIM with UPS was DENIED!  I need to contact the UPS STORES to file a claim – which I’d already DONE – but NOBODY did a thing but say they’d have to file a claim with UPS as they are both just FRANCHISEES and NOT affiliate with UPS – now that’s just INSANE!  How can you take money for UPS, pay for Insurance with UPS – and I’m sure that both UPS STORES and UPS made money from this entire deal!  But NOBODY wants to OWN UP to their damaging my case and NOBODY will HELP!  This is the POOREST Customer Service I’ve EVER SEEN!   They went from being NICE to just not CARING at all!

After all – they’d already been paid – so why take care of the customer anymore!

Well I simply have to say do NOT use UPS and insure something and expect to get ANY help from ANYONE if they DAMAGE what you ship!

I’ve been WAY more than patient – but after a while I just HAD to take a hard stance and say – I would PREFER to avoid legal action, but you guys are NOT giving me much choice!  Bad Faith failure to pay a VALID insurance claim can carry 25% of the claim plus attorney’s fees – or if I file under the consumer protection act – sometimes that means TREBLE DAMAGES (three times your damage) plus attorney’s fees and Costs! 

I did the math pretty quickly as I can sue UPS the company and BOTH UPS STORES!  They all played a hand in taking my money AND damaging my CASE!
And all I want is my case replaced!  I was NOT asking for ANYTHING more – even though I now am thinking that I should have my board completely checked out to make sure it’s ALL WORKING – as it worked GREAT and was in INCREDIBLY GREAT SHAPE – in fact, like NEW!  I take care of MY GEAR!  But UPS does NOT! 

So after doing the math – and UPS hires an attorney – and both UPS stores hire an attorney – that’s about $9,000 just in THEIR attorney’s fees!  Add my attorney’s fees, bad faith 25% for denying the claim and possibly TREBLE DAMAGES – they are looking at close to $20,000 in total costs – ALL OVER $450.00 – I’d just cut somebody a check and be done with it – but now they are forcing my hand – so you can bet that I’m going to sue EVERYONE I CAN – (which I HATE DOING!) but if you’re going to go to COURT load up on guns and bullets! As you don’t want to lose a legal battle for lack of shooting back – (this is a pure metaphor and I have NO INTENTION of using any GUNS – I’m just going to bring the LEGAL GUNS IN! 

Not only have I wasted HOURS upon HOURS on the phone – but now I’m looking at a FLAT DENIAL of the CLAIM – so that’s even MORE TIME WASTED just to get what I paid for – and to make matters worse – UPS has my CASE and does NOT know where it is!  Last time I checked that’s THEFT of PROPERTY!  

And UPS is using standard tactics of DENYING the claim thinking that I’ll just go away – THEY ARE DEAD WRONG – I’m fighting over this on PRINCIPLE!

So I guess we’ll just have to “Tee this one up!” and let the chips fall where they may – but luckily I know how to take somebody to court!  And I don’t hold back ANY PUNCHES – I’m going to PUSH THE ENVELOPE to get JUSTICE!

So WARN YOUR MUSIC FRIENDS!  Do NOT ship unless it’s all packed correctly and DO NOT expect any help from UPS or the UPS STORES- as they all point the finger at each other when they are ALL in BED together! 

More to come I’m sure -as I’m just getting warmed up!

Steve Moore, B.A., J.D., Author

The Truth about the Music Business

High Cotton Records

Steve Moore & the New South

ButterMilk Media

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